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Against the Royal Law of Love

Behavior has consequences. That's a pretty elementary statement, but simplicity notwithstanding, it has the power to change individuals, families, workplaces, churches, schools, communities, and even entire cultures. Positive behaviors results in positive consequences and negative behaviors result in negative consequences. Should those who are in Christ not be speaking out against these bad behaviors in other believers? Or is it against the royal law of love? Throughout the Gospels Jesus was clearly not one to sugarcoat. He didn't worry about communicating an unpopular message. To do so would violate the very essence of Who He is, and who He wants us to be. Whether at home, at work, at school, at church, or any where else, we convince ourselves, to let poor behavior slide than to deal with it. Lets face it, most of us don't like conflict, so we just ignore bad behavior or address it with a mere slap on the wrist, or perhaps beat around the bush with sarcasm which isn't helpful at all. It's just this one time, we reason, and because letting things go preservers the relationship. So we let what seems to be a minor thing slide. What happens the next time? We let it slide again, and before we know it, we've adopted a lifestyle of tolerating sinful behaviors. Maybe your ok with where you are at, letting others slide? Maybe you let others slide so you can feel better about letting yourself slide as well. To that, I'm sorry you feel that way. For one day we all have to answer to the things we DID or DIDN'T DO. Robbed of our peace, we experience a bitter irony of our sweep-it-under-the-rug, "relational preservation" approach to conflict: ultimately, it yields a joyless, broken, and dying relationship. Not just whoever we let slide, but also ourselves. Can I ask you, is it truly loving to give a blind eye to someone NOT living as Christ? Whether your the one sliding or the one turning the the blind eye, think of what's at stake here: your or their very LIFE hangs in the balance. What might seem as freedom to live as you wish/trying to preserve the relationship in the here and now by not causing conflict, is actually only tearing your relationship down piece by piece. Christ wants us to live as he did. He is the source of LIFE. Remember we always look first to resolve any sin in our own lives, but also remember to never turn a blind eye...for turning a blind eye is only bringing destruction...not life. Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. Hebrews 10:24-25 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

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Bless the Lord

Great things happen when you continually confess the mercy of God. Faith rises up inside of you, the reality that God loves you begins to sing through your spirit. What's more important, it brings honor to your Father when you believe His word and magnify His love and mercy. You honor him when you speak of his goodness and kindness, when you talk about him as the God of the universe. Put his words continually on your lips, and you will soon begin to experience the thrill and joy of realizing that God is indeed rich in mercy.

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The Grace of Giving

How do you give to the Lord? Do you just drop some money in the plate at church without much thought? Or do you just write a check to the Lord at the first of every month and pay him like you pay all the other bills. Think about this for a second because how you give to the Lord is a matter of deep concern to him. In Malachi God refused to receive Israel's offerings because they were bringing him their defective animals, their blind calves, and injured ones they couldn't do anything else with. This greatly offended Him. God told them, "you don't have any reverence or honor for Me, and I'm not going to except your offering." Still many today don't have any reverence for God at offering time. People wait until the preacher beats them over the head or until they feel so guilty they have have to reach down in there pocket books and get some money out. God doesn't just want your money, He wants you to give him your gifts and talents to him. He wants you to give your whole self to him, not just a part of what you make every week. Giving is a direct act of worship. So if you want God to be pleased with your offerings, we are going to have to do what apostle Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 8:7. We are going to have to quite being casual about our giving, and learn to give in faith and reverence in worship to Him. Giving to Him your whole self is what he wants, and what better place to begin is when the offering plate is passed around. Worship the Lord with your money and be thankful. He'll do more than simply receive it, he'll open the door of blessings to you. Giving our money is a small part of worshiping Him. How much more will He bless you if you give your whole self rather than just a part of your life? More than you'll ever know...for when we give we truly receive.

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God has Something to Say

Don't be so afraid of making a mistake that you miss out on the joy of acting on the voice of the Lord. Instead trust in the Holy Spirit and let him show you how. He will begin speaking to you about the little things in your life, and as you continue to become accustomed to hearing his voice and acting in obedience, he will speak to you about the heavier things. First in your prayer and study time expect to hear from the Lord and he will give it to you. This past year I attended New Life Church in Columbus, that Sunday was no different than any other Sunday. The worship was great, as far as I remember the sermon was great, although after the service I got a little nudge to go over to a couple in the back sitting by themselves. The Lord was telling me to go pray for them. To tell you the truth I was a little hesitant, a thought came to my mind what if this is just me what if this really isn't the Lord speaking to me. But then I told myself Ryan what harm is it going to do just to go pray for these people. My stomach started churning...and I heard it again. Go pray for them! You see there were things coming together that the enemy did absolutely not want to happen. Turns out this man was going through a tough time and he told me out of all the years he was there no one ever came up to talk to them let alone pray for him. What would have happened if I hadn't listened to the Lords nudging? Well I would have missed out on some super amazing things. I got to speak into his life that day, and we got to talk almost every Sunday after that. And you know what the Lord used him to speak into my life as well. He was telling me things that lined up exactly what I was going through. The thing was that this man had no idea how much of what he was saying aligned up in my life. It was a God thing. If you'll trust him, the Holy Spirit will do the same thing that he did for me. He'll bring you along one step at a time in a way that will help you not hurt you. The biggest mistake you can make is to be afraid to follow that inward witness which is the number one way he leads his children. Take time to listen today, expect to hear Him speaking to your spirit, because he has something to say to you. John 10:3

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It's Your Decision

Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live." And Jesus went with him. Mark 5:22-24 I wonder when God is going to do something about this problem! Have you ever asked this question? If so, you may be surprised that the answer depends on you. In Mark 5 Jesus just got out of a boat and people were pressing all around him against the shoreline. Suddenly there came a man pushing through the clouds. Laying at Jesus' feet he says, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live." Think about this for a moment. This man made his way through the crowed and cleared enough space to lay at Jesus' feet. When he gets to Jesus he says exactly what it is: lay your hands on her and she may be made well and live. Jesus doesn't say anything , he just stops what he is doing, turns around and follows the man. So what's the point I'm trying to make? Well if your the one sitting in the crowd waiting and hoping Jesus will come your way...waiting for him to decide to heal you...waiting for him to decide to help you...for him to decide to prosper you and give you victory...you're in for a long wait. He wants to heal you, He wants the very best for you, but that's not His decision. It's yours, He has given the decision to you. It's your choice. You can come to Him and find what you have always been searching for, or continue to sit in the crowd depressed wishing that you life would be different. He is standing with arms open wide, waiting...waiting for you to come to Him.

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Let Your Life Shout

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. Most of us would never dream this could apply to us. After all we're believers. We'd never say there is no God. But maybe we should think again. It's true that with our mouths we would never say anything like that...but what about our actions? Do we say it by sinning a little here and there thinking it won't matter. Do you go to an immoral movie or have a gossip session about the pastor, ignoring Gods command on the contrary? With our actions are we saying there is no God? Whether you realize it or not, by doing these things the more corrupt your going to become. Don't make the foolish mistake of publicly proclaiming Jesus as Lord, and then privately denying him with one little action at a time. Use wisdom in everything you do that both your heart and life shout loudly, "My God reigns!"

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Take Time to Listen

When we face a problem what's the first thing we should ask for? Not money. Not power. Not even healing. But wisdom. Gods wisdom is the key in everything we face. Stop wasting time asking God for what you think you need, and spend some time listening to what he has to say about the situation. First take some time to lay out the entire problem before the Lord, not that he doesn't already know your situation already, but that it'll help you. It helps you see it from a more objective point of view. Sometimes when your explaining things to him, you see them in a different light. You get a new perspective, and also the spirit will point out areas you haven't considered yet. Listen to the spirit of the Lord to advise you. Pay particular attention to what he says through his Word. He will begin to speak to you through it. As you are listing be sure to remain teachable. Be ready to accept rebuke if necessary. Look for ways in which you have been wrong. If he reveals any to you, confess them. Don't try to hide them, he already knows your mistakes. Confession just gives you the opportunity to get rid of them. Act on the wisdom God gives you, let go of your own methods and put his into operation. Be obedient. If you don't the wisdom you received wont do you any good. As you pray set aside your own agenda and start seeking the wisdom of God. It's the only thing that can solve the problems you've been facing. It's one of the most previous gifts he offers us. Seek wisdom...James 1:5

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Life in the Mist of Pain

Little girl terrified

She'd leave her room if only bruises would heal

A home is no place to hide Her heart is breaking from the pain that she feels


Every day's the same

She fights to find her way She hurts, she breaks, she hides, and tries to pray

She wonders why, does anyone ever hear her when she cries Today she's turning sixteen Everyone singing, but she can't seem to smile

They never get past arms length How could they act like everything is alright?

She's pulling down her long sleeves

To cover all the memories that scars leave She says, "maybe making me bleed will be the answer that could wash the slate clean"


This is the dark before the dawn The storm before the peace Don't be afraid 'cause seasons change and God is watching over you He hears you

If this is you please read these word carefully...I see the pain that you feel give them to me and I will set you free Never be afraid for I AM with you For today is a new day All your shame and guilt will wash away Come to me That you may ounce again be free I long to see my daughter come to me Never will she be free Until she gives everything to me I wait with arms out wide My love is free for her today This is how I wash the slate clean That she may know I hear her cries I long to take away her pain If only she knew that I was standing next to her the whole time My daughter come to me So that I may set you free Love Jesus

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Are You More Like an Animal or Angel...or Can We Just be Human?

Imagine you’re at a wildlife lodge in Africa. Each morning you crawl into a land rover with your guide, who drives you all over the bush felt, looking at animals in their native habitats. You see rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, and two lions lying out in the open. A male and female, the female would periodically get up and walk back and forth in front of the male, she would roll on her back and side, then lye still for a while and do this routine all over again. You guessed it mating season. And the female was going through this ritual to get the male ready for their encounter. The guide goes on to talk about the male and female relationship, and how they attract one another and how they relate to each other. These animals are going to mate because it’s in their DNA. They aren’t lying out there wondering, I just really want to know that you love me for more than my body. They aren’t discussing how to make a difference in the world. One isn’t saying to the other, you know I just don’t think you are as committed to this relationship as I am. Other than basic biological functions there is nothing else going on, no higher plain, no higher cause, biology period. This reminds me of the SCENE. I am assuming you know the scene I am referring to. It happens all over the place. All over the world people gather to drink large amounts of alcohol and have sex with lots and lots of people. It’s spring break. The vibe is the same regardless of the year or the location or even the weather. This is your week to let yourself go, to lose yourself, to give in to whatever craving or desire you have because whatever happens (name a city) stays in that city. Perhaps you have been there or you have seen it or heard the stories. There’s a saying that if something feels good it takes priority over everything else. And so how do the stories brought home begin…I can’t believe I, we totally lost our minds, it was so out of control the next morning I couldn’t… these scenes aren’t just about partying having a good time hooking up with someone, they raise questions about what it means to be fully human. The temptation is to ignore your conscience, sacrificing what it means to be human which leads a person to act much like an animal. Are we just the sum of our urges? Think about some of the phrases that get thrown around. Party animal, we attacked each other, she has a tigers basic instinct. They are all in acknowledgment o f the primal basic nature of a person’s behavior. As if there were some incredibly strong forces down in there that are usually oppressed, but for a few days they are going to be allowed to take over. And when they are given the reigns, you have no idea of what might happen. Can we live for a higher purpose then just fulfilling our urges? Our bodies are the temple for the Holy Spirit we are not just a jumble of urges waiting to be met; there is more to life than the next fix. A perspective the world has on sex is that people will do it because they can’t help themselves. But this is a low view of human nature. This perspective is presented as freedom, just being who you are, and what comes naturally. It builds on the belief that certain things are inevitable. What it really teaches that people cannot transcend the physical dimension of their existence. It views people much like animals. So many live with a low grade sense of despair, thinking they are helpless, that this is simply how it is. Nowhere is this more visible then in sex education curriculums. Many on the premise that the kids are going to do it, if you deconstruct that, what do you get? A loss of hope. Who decided that kids or anyone else for that matter are unable to abstain. This is the voice of despair, this is the voice aren’t we all just animals. In the same way we can veer towards the animal impulse we can also veer towards the angel impulse. And either one is just as destructive as the other. If the animal impulse is to give in to our cravings, the angel impulse is the opposite. It’s the denial of the physical and the failure to acknowledge that our sexuality is central to what makes us human. It is so amazing nowadays when you ask people where they learned about sex, and their response is that they heard it from someone else other than their parents. How can a parent ignore something this big? There are so many kids that are having sex with lots of people and their own parents have no idea this is going on. How can parents be that clueless? Many of you might be thinking well lots of parents are that clueless. Think about a woman who just got married, she is trying to figure out what it means to be true to her new husband, and yet she does not want to have sex with him because she has a million confusing messages about sexuality, about obligation, about love. Instead of talking about it and dealing with it, learning, being open, and being honest, she just stuffs it. And he has images, fragments of stories floating around in his head about what a woman is suppose to be and do for him, and this woman he has just married is suppose to do that and be that is simply not delivering. His temptation is to deal with his frustration through all sorts of other channels that will only drive them farther apart. Denying and stuffing and repressing never work because it’s a failure to acknowledge what is central to being a human being. They can pretend their angels but they’re not. They have to talk about what they are experiencing share what they’re feeling, or they will begin that slow drift apart. Another example of this is of a junior high girl, who has just hit puberty, and all of a sudden her body has changed. She is being noticed in ways she wasn’t before and now she is starting to notice that she is getting noticed. Her parents have to talk to her about all this. They have to wade in to the complexity to the confusion to the mixed messages that our culture is sending their daughter. If they indulge one way telling her to use her body to get what she needs and encouraging her to draw as much attention to her body as she can. They’re encouraging her to act as an animal. But if they ignore these changes and hope the whole thing just goes away, they are sending her and equally destructive message. They’re treating her like an angel. Her sexuality, her body, her beauty are good things. They were given to her by God. Her parents must embrace this and all that comes with it; they have to teach her how to embrace it in an honorable and godly way. They must live in the tension, and show her how to do the same. Angels and animals are these two extremes, we can either be denying our sexuality or be driven by it. Hugh Hefner founder of the playboy empire grew up in a family where there was absolutely no hugging or kissing. Later in his life his mother apologized about not showing any affection to him while growing up. Where did this lead him? It led him down a path to the opposite side of the spectrum. The pendulum swung from the angle side to the animal side. He was denied something that is central to be human. Affection. People need affection. Why? because God made us that way. We are neither animals nor angels. We are human. Studies show that it is healthy to have physical affection every day. Whether that may be a hug, pat on the back, kiss on the cheek. Some things obviously have limitations- I do not recommend that you go kiss someone you don’t know walking down the street. A kiss might be shared from a parent to child…etc. “Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.” C.S. Lewis Living like angels can be just as destructive as living like animals. Some people view that talking about sex or even saying the word sex is something that shouldn’t be done, because we paint sex as a horrible thing that is unclean and of the dark side. They’re afraid of what it might lead to…sex. When we suppress such a crucial subject, when we ignore something so big, what are we actually doing? We are living in a trap the enemy has set up. In Ephesus a similar thing happens about food. Some people in those days forbid anyone to eat any food that was offered to idols or gods. These people started making lists and lists of food they couldn’t eat, because it was offered to idols. But just because it was offered to idols does not mean that this food is inherently wrong to eat. Food was meant to be enjoyed and appreciated; it was given to us by God. Just because it was offered to an idol doesn’t mean it sinful to eat it. We put God in a box when we do this. We take something good God has given us and label it sin. True it is sin of what the people were doing worshiping idols, but we are no better off if we eat or do not eat the food. This is where a man named Paul comes in. He addresses this in a letter to the people in Ephesus. He warns them about these things and says that those things were created by God to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Pauls point is that there is a distinction between the inherent good of something and the abuse of it. Satan may have distorted the good gift that sex and food is, but that does not mean these things are inherently wrong. In marriage sex is a good thing. God created male and female and it was good, Genesis 1. And this includes SEX. Sex is a Holy thing that was created by God to be enjoyed in marriage. So why do we view sex the way we view it today? Because just like satan twisted the inherit good of food so many years ago, he is doing to sex today with pornography, and night clubs, nude beaches…the list goes on and on. In Creation God created angels and animals before humans. But something happened when God created humans that didn’t happen when he created animals or angels. We were created in God’s image. We have a spiritual dimension to us, but also a physical dimension. Animals don’t have a spiritual dimension while angels don’t have a physical dimension, a body; while humans have a spiritual and a physical dimension. When we deny the spiritual we start living like animals, but when we deny the physical we start living like angels. When we start living as animals/angels we separate ourselves from what God intended us to be. We are going back in creation, away from the image of God. When we distance ourselves from what it means to be human, we distance ourselves away from God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, just as we are, and when we stray from this we become less like God. God intended us to strive toward Himself, toward Holiness. He intended us to be like Him. He intended us to be Human. Where do you see yourself today? What kind of world are you creating? Are we heading towards peace harmony and order or are we creating a world of disorder and chaos. How we live our life matters. Are we living as angels denying our physical needs of affection? Or are we living like Animals denying our spiritual side this image of God placed in us? Or are we living as God intended us to be…human?

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Do All Religions Lead to God?

Do all religions lead to God? Well as many would say you are very narrow minded if you do not believe this. But I say no, I guess that makes me narrow minded to some, if you look at Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism you will notice that they all contradict each other. In other words logically they can all be wrong but they all can’t be right. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. (see John 14:6) Jesus validated Christianity with his resurrection from the dead. Every other religious leader took their religion along with themselves to the grave where they are today. Jesus is the only one who rose from the dead and is alive today. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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